How many trumpets do you play?
Two of each of the following trumpets: Bb, C, D, Piccolo.
One of each of the following: Eb trumpet, Flugelhorn, Bb Cornet.
The SPCO owns the rotary trumpets that we use, as well as the set of natural trumpets.
In addition to having a variety of trumpets, I also have to have a large number of mutes. Each mute has a different timbre, and it’s nice to have a large selection so you can get the exact sound that you want.
I also use a number of different mouthpieces: slightly smaller and shallower mouthpiece for the high piccolo trumpet, and a larger, deeper mouthpiece for most of the playing I do in the orchestra.
Trumpets, mouthpieces and mutes are tools, and as players, we need to determine which tools are best for the piece of music at hand.
How are they different?
The repertoire we play in the SPCO requires the trumpet players to be able to play on a number of different trumpets pitched in different keys. In addition to modern piston trumpets, we also play rotary trumpets and natural trumpets (trumpets that have no valves at all).
The largest trumpet we play in the orchestra is the Bb trumpet, which is also the instrument that most trumpet players learn to play on. The trumpet we play most often in the orchestra is pitched in C. The higher the key of the trumpet is, the shorter the length of the instrument. We also use trumpets pitched in D, Eb, F, G, and the piccolo trumpet which can be pitched in A , Bb or C. The Bb/A piccolo is half the length of the large Bb trumpet, and we use this instrument mainly in Baroque music (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, etc.)
In addition to these trumpets, we also play cornets pitched in Bb or C, and the flugelhorn. One question that is often asked is ‘what is the difference between a trumpet and a cornet?’ The cornet (and flugelhorn) has tubing that is more conical, the trumpet has tubing that is more cylindrical. The cornet/ flugelhorn uses a more V-shaped cup mouthpiece, the trumpet a C-shaped cup. The cornet/flugelhorn are coiled in a slightly different way from the trumpet, and look a little more compact. Due to the different design of the instruments and mouthpieces, the sound of conical instruments is mellow and darker; the sound of cylindrical instruments is brighter, and can be more brilliant.
The rotary trumpet has rotary valves like a French horn, and has a darker sound that blends well. The natural trumpet with no valves is the most challenging to play, is not as loud as a modern trumpet, and also has a unique sound.
Why did I choose to play the trumpet rather than the viola?
I started playing the trumpet when I was in the fourth grade, and chose this instrument because I liked the trumpet sound and thought it would be a fun instrument to play. My parents enjoyed listening to classical music, and I regularly heard orchestral music that featured brass instruments. The first classical recording I bought was one of the 1812 Overture-brassy stuff!
What is your favorite repertoire to play in the chamber orchestra?
Baroque! I really enjoy playing the piccolo trumpet.
What steps did you go through to train your dog to be a therapy dog?
My golden retriever Lacey and I are a therapy dog team, and do volunteer work at Methodist Hospital each week. In order to become a therapy dog team, you have to first pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. We went to classes at the Humane Society in Golden Valley, and worked hard to master all of the obedience training required of this test. Once we passed this level, we were able to register for the ten-week therapy dog training class. When we had both passed the test for the therapy dog team certification, I explored volunteer options for a therapy dog team in my community. We now volunteer on a weekly basis at the Melrose Institute, a part of the Methodist Hospital system. Lacey brings a lot of joy to people with her visits, and also loves the attention that she gets. It’s an enjoyable and unusual way for me to make a difference in my community.